Sen. Linares “Focused on Job Growth” [Norwich Bulletin]

January 10, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Norwich Bulletin
Region’s legislators list their priorities

New leaders gathered in Hartford Wednesday

Hartford —The General Assembly began work on Wednesday, welcoming more than 30 new members to its ranks — including a contingent from Eastern Connecticut.

And while the region’s new legislators said they’ll spend much of their time learning from veterans, they’re also bringing their own convictions and political stances to a legislative session crowded with big issues.

Rep. Timothy Bowles, D-Preston, said minutes after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s State of the State address that he supports the idea of armed security guards in schools — running against the governor’s stance.

“It would have to be discussed with me why that would not be, at least from a psychological perspective,” said Bowles, who is representing the 42nd Assembly District. “We have armed security guards in every state building.”

Bowles said he’s not in favor of arming teachers, and would want to make sure proper training is conducted to ensure the well-being of children in schools.

State Sen. Art Linares, a 24-year-old Westbrook Republican whose 33rd district includes Colchester, said he’ll work to preserve jobs and enhance economic development opportunities.
“Right away, I would like to focus on improving the economy, and what we can do to help small business and job growth in private sectors,” he said.

That’s a platform that State Sen. President Donald E. Williams, D-Brooklyn, endorsed in morning remarks before the chamber.

Williams called on his colleagues to collaborate as lawmakers prepare to tackle a projected $1 billion budget shortfall, and said the state needs to assist “emerging sectors” such as biotechnology and precision manufacturing to create more high-paying jobs.

“As we move forward, let’s welcome big and bold ideas,” he said. “This year, a balanced budget will require everyone’s participation.

The best long-term solution is to improve our economy and create jobs.”

State Rep. Brian Sear, a Canterbury Democrat who is also the town’s first selectman, said he’ll follow through on a campaign promise to fight for the preservation of aid to cities and towns across Connecticut.

“It’s the most direct delivery of government services there is,” said Sear, who represents the 47th Assembly District. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to protect all municipal aid coming this year, but there’s a lot of push back.”

State Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, steps into the 19th Senate District seat long held by Edith Prague of Columbia.

Osten is chairwoman of the Labor and Public Employees Committee — an issue that remains central to her. Among her biggest goals of the session is guiding legislation that would amend workers’ compensation laws to provide benefits for those like first responders who have sustained emotional damages after such tragedies as the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown.

“I’m really excited to get a lot of work done,” Osten, who is also Sprague’s first selectman, said. “The budget is clearly one of the No. 1 things.”

Emmett Riley, elected in November to represent Norwich’s 46th Assembly District, plans to absorb as much as he can about the legislative process, while working to bring new jobs and safety enhancements to his city, he said.

“We have a lot of workers in our town who are casino workers, so I think about them and have their interests at heart,” he said.

“Certainly, education and making things safer for the people of Norwich are priorities for me as well.”